Sex in the 15th Century – Les Cent Nouvelles Nouvelles

The Monk-Doctor the 2nd story based in London about a merchant’s daughter with piles. After many unsuccessful ‘cures’ a monk takes on the task. He in blowing a medicine through a tube to cure the piles but he spends too long examining the girl through a hole in a cloth that has been draped over her bottom. She tries to stifle a fit of giggles which becomes a fart and blows the corrosive medicine into the Monk’s one remaining eye and blinds him. The case is taking to the courts and becomes a celebrated and much discussed case.

This is a 15th Century French collection of bawdy tales. The illustrated version in the Hunterian, Glasgow has some marvellous illustrations.

To read the stories follow this link to the Project Gutenberg.

New Discovery about Stonehenge

20th Century Photo of Stonehenge stones being propped up
Photo of Museum display at Stonehenge, showing 20th Century repair work at Stonehenge

The discovery of a dismantled Stone Circle, the same size as the Aubrey Holes Circle at Stonehenge, near to the Quarry that modern science has identified as the source of the Bluestones at Stonehenge, has validated what Geoffrey of Monmouth said in the 12th Century.

That is that Stonehenge was second hand and was brought from the West. (OK he said Ireland and the newly discovered Henge is in West Wales, and everything else he said seems to be wrong). But at least it would seem Geoffrey didn’t just make up it all up, which is what I have been saying for many years.

Anyway the point of this post is to direct you to this article which is the definitive word on the new discovery by Mike Parker Pearson and his colleagues.

Do read it!

Posh Flat built above the Old Operating Theatre Museum

Appartment in Tower of St Thomas Church
Tower of St Thomas Church

https://www.mylondon.news/news/property/gallery/inside-stunning-church-tower-next-18969186

The Old Operating Theatre Museum is in St Thomas Church, Southwark, part of the old St Thomas Hospital. The Church, built in 1703, by Thomas Cartwright has a fine baroque Tower, the top two chambers of which have been empty for many years. The conversion to a bijou pied a terre has been completed and details can be found in the link above.

Manifesto for free access to digital archives

The Passenger Pigeon Manifesto is a call for cultural institutions to open their digital archives for free use by the public. You can see the manifesto in the link below.

It would mean a loss of income from copyright for organisations who are already short of money but on the other hand it would help greatly increase access to our cultural heritage, and, it would help preserve these items, at least digitally, into the long distance future.

So, to my mind, a good thing. I’m trying to find out how to sign up.

Please note it is not asking for low quality reproduction but the high definition copies.

Robert Geffrye – Will He Fall?

Demonstrations at the Geffrye Museum after the Board refuse to remove the statue of the founder who made money from the slave trade.
Interesting developments to this story – the Government wrote to the Geffrye Museum telling them that it was not Government or Heritage England’s policy to remove statues. And in a possibly sinister move the Minister Oliver Dowden asked the Geffrye to consult the government on any move it made.

This seems to go to the heart of independence and a free country. Here is the government using its financial support to make sure independent organisations do what the government wants.

For more on this story, go here. https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2020/jun/13/removal-of-controversial-statues-winston-churchill-protest

Protestors at the Geffrye Museum
This is an update on the subject

Ship of Theseus – a Philosophic Paradox in Material Culture

This was first raised by Plutarch, and it concerns a crucial issue in conservation/restoration which is how to maintain authenticity in the face of replacing worn out parts of an object or structure. The idea is, perhaps, most economically discussed in ‘Any Fools and Horses’ in the scene known as Trigger’s Broom.

Watch this now before proceeding to the philosophy. Click here.
Theseus’ ship can be seen just over Ariadne’s left shoulder in Titian’s painting in the National Gallery. He is abandoning her on the Isle of Naxos.

Now you are ready to appreciate the philosophic issue that is discussed in this short video by the Khan Academy. Click here.

Black Lives Matter & London Heritage

A couple of my regular places have been affected by the effects of the toppling of the Colston Statue in Bristol.

Firstly, the statue of Robt Milligan outside the Museum of London, Docklands has been taken down. I have often used this as a meeting point for my students from Westminster University as we explore the Docks and the Docklands Museum.

Slavery was a big part of the visit, although we didn’t make Milligan the villain.

Another site is the Geffrey Museum which is going to open as the Museum of the Home, although this was determined before the George Floyd murder, but now I expect the Geffrey part of it to quietly disappear, as he is also contaminated by slavery.

Interesting fact about slavery, is that UCL have done a brilliant study of all the recipients of the compensation for the end of slavery. The govt at the time paid compensation of £20m to the slave OWNERS. This was a vast amount said to be 45% of the GDP for the year. It was funded by a long term loan which was paid back, as late as, 2015. In modern terms it was 16 billion £.

This has completely changed my mind on compensation for slavery which I was against. But it seems to me if we know that £16 billion was spent then to compensate the owners we could set up a fund of £16 billion now to give, for example, educational grants and start up grants for black people to give them the boost they need to make up for centuries of oppression..